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Phillips hired to operate Owls basketball program

GAMBIER, Ohio — Jill McCartney, Kenyon College’s Director of Athletics, Fitness and Recreation, announced Thursday the hiring of Steve Phillips as head coach of the Owls men’s basketball program. Phillips will arrive on campus after serving as an assistant coach at Williams College since the 2018-19 season.

Phillips, who also has coaching experience at Washington & Lee University and Mount Saint Mary College, becomes Kenyon’s eighth head coach since the College joined the North Coast Athletic Conference in the 1984-85 season. He steps into the role left vacant by Dan Priest, who coached at Kenyon the previous 13 seasons.

“We’re very excited to welcome Coach Phillips as our men’s basketball coach. With his background at well-respected Division III programs and his passion for the sport, we have a leader who knows what it takes to be successful,” McCartney said. “He has an astute awareness of the importance of the student-athlete experience and he has a quiet intensity that I think will allow him to develop competitors who will achieve success through great team effort.”

“I am honored and excited to be the next head coach of the men’s basketball program at Kenyon College,” Phillips said. “I would like to thank Jill McCartney, Justin Newell, Celestino Limas, and the rest of the search committee for this amazing opportunity. I would not be in this position if it wasn’t for the coaches I have been lucky enough to learn under: Ryan Kadlubowski, Adam Hutchinson, Chris McHugh, and Kevin App.”

Phillips, who worked alongside App at Williams, is coming off a 23-5 season in which the Ephs made an appearance in the NCAA Division III Tournament and won their first-round game. In 2021-22, the team went to the NCAA Tournament’s third round and in 2018-19, his first season at Williams, the Ephs were 23-7 and made a run into the NCAA quarterfinal round. In all, the Ephs posted a combined 78-29 (.729) record in Phillips’ four seasons of work within the highly-competitive New England Small College Athletic Conference (NESCAC).

During that same span, Phillips helped coach and develop five All-NESCAC players and one All-American.

A native of New Hyde Park, N.Y., Phillips graduated from Mount Saint Mary in 2014 with bachelor’s degree in history and education/special education. He then went on to earn a master’s degree in education, school building leadership, from St. John’s University in 2018.

During his playing days at Mount Saint Mary, he went from a walk-on, to a starting point guard, to senior captain that led the winningest class in school history (82-32) to the Skyline Conference Championship game his senior year.

Following graduation, he remained at Mount Saint Mary to commence his coaching career. Two years later, Phillips was hired as an assistant at Washington and Lee, where he coached five All-Old Dominion Athletic Conference honorees and helped steer the Generals to their best conference finish in 40 years.

“Aside from the impressive academics and beauty of Kenyon, the overall personality of the team made this position extremely attractive,” Phillips said. “I’m very lucky to be walking into such a connected group that is hungry to work and improve. I am looking forward to building a successful program that prides itself on hard work, commitment, and sacrifice, for the betterment of the team.”

Phillips will begin his work at Kenyon on May 8.

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